In March 1998 – eleven years after looking at the pictures of the other wall – my brother and I spent five months together in China. Jon had already studied Chinese for a year at this point, and had arranged for us to continue studying Chinese for a couple of months in Xining in the Qinghai Province of China, and then walk along the Great Wall of China for two months.
I was really excited to finally be able to visit the country I had dreamt about for so long! Several months in advance, I applied for leave without pay from work, and when the application was approved, all was set for 5 months vacancy from the busy IT-consulting job in Oslo, Norway.
The studies in Xining went very well. Jon learnt even more Chinese, and I got acquainted with spoken Mandarin. The fact that Jon at this point was able to not only start a Chinese conversation, but keep it going, proved to be a big advantage walking along the the Great Wall.
At the end of May, we said goodbye to our new friends in Xining, and took the train from Xining to Lanzhou, and then on to Jiayuguan which lies very close to the start of the Ming Dynasty wall. We spent a day at the Great Wall Museum researching different sections of the Wall, and then had our last meal before setting off!
More information about our stay coming.